Saturday, November 20, 2010


Jan. 2 Foolish Virgins / Skitzos This sounds like a Billie Goat Hill New Year to me.

Jan. 9 Mama’s Pride / Faustus. How many times did I see these guys?

Jan. 9 Yard-Apes. From Kansas City, with a bit of a Talking Heads vibe, if I recall correctly. They were on the Fresh Sounds From Mid-America tape.

Jan. 21 Morells

Jan. 22 Morells

Jan. 23 Morells. Billie Goat Hill was jam-packed every time they played, but Tony Renner and I were always up near the foot of the stage, dancing up a wild storm within the tiny square footage our feet could take up. 

Jan. 30 The Felons / Riot Act. Interesting – I assume by this time, Riot Act had retained only Jeff Roth from the trio I saw in late 1980, and had expanded into a larger, funk/soul ensemble. Now that I think of it, half the musicians in town were in this band at one time or another, so who knows who was in the band at this gig? Papa Ray played sax before he was a papa, I remember that.

Feb. 5 David & the Happenings. These guys were from Carbondale, I think. David was the cousin of James Chance of the Contortions up in New York. This band played 60s soul with a bit of an art-damaged vibe, and for a little while, they practically moved into our city.

Feb. 6 David & the Happenings. Billie Goat Hill hoped they’d found another Morells, but while the crowds were good, they weren’t that good.

Feb. 11 Human Sexual Response. One of the great indie bands from the days before they were even called college rock. Out of Boston, there were three vocalists, and the legendary Rich Gilbert on guitar. This was at Mississippi Nights.

Feb. 13 The Action. I’m wondering when Dr. Munchees became the place to go. I ask because I remember the Action playing there frequently. Dr. Munchees, later Poorboy’s (yeah, they had no clue how to name clubs) was the first place in town booked by John Green, IIRC. His name will probably turn up now and again in the course of this memory project.

Feb. 17 The Felons / Riot Act.

Feb. 19 U2 / Scanners. Obviously, I got mixed up when I wrote about seeing these guys before. That time was at Graham Chapel; this time was at Hollywood Nights.

Feb. 20 David & the Happenings. I’m wondering if this was the show they did at the Chase Park Plaza, the same room where Squeeze had played, and the only other time I was there.

Feb. 24 Langrehr / Wax Theatricks. Wax Theatricks was the new name for Earwacks, though I preferred the old one. Still, it was nice to see them again – can’t remember where this show was, though. Could we be at Heartbreak Hotel yet?

Mar. 5 David & the Happenings

Mar. 6 David & the Happenings

Mar. 10 Studebakers / Sound Town. Anybody remember Sound Town? I sure don’t.

Mar. 13 Duchamp / Newd Arrangements. The Scanlons returned. Don’t know who Newd Arrangements were, but that was not a very good name.

Mar. 17 Morells

Mar. 19 Morells

Mar. 20 Morells. Don’t know what happened Mar. 18.

Mar. 24 The Obvious. I remember seeing the Obvious at 4th and Pine, and it feels like this could be the time frame for that.

Mar. 25 Joe Camel & the Caucasions. An east-side old-time rock’n’roll/rockabilly guy who played around town now and again for a while.

Mar. 26 Yard-Apes.

Mar. 31 David & the Happenings / The Felons. This could have been a return to the Ville Auditiorium, when Beatle Bob somehow booked bands, and when Rene Spencer (now Saller) wound up rapping in French on WESL.

Apr. 1 The Police / Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Back to the Checkerdome for a much better Police concert – they figured out how to connect with a huge audience by this point.

Apr 2 Hunger Project. Can’t remember this one.

Apr. 7 The Embarrassment / the Nukes

Apr. 9 David & the Happenings

Apr. 15 Fools Face. This was probably at 4th & Pine, and I was probably along to humor the Mailman.

Apr. 17 The Felons / Popular Science. This was at a new, short-lived venue on Laclede’s Landing, and Popular Science was a band I was very excited to see. Tony Fafoglia and Curt Hendricks had left Be-Vision, teamed with Bob Chekoudjian of the Retros, and Kevin Griffin of the Zanti Misfits/AKA, not to mention a keyboard player who only lasted one or two gigs. I wish there were recordings of this outfit.

Apr. 18 Popular Science / the Nukes

Apr. 19 Red Rockers / the Nukes. My first ever exposure to hardcore punk, in the auditorium at UMSL. I was confused, I admit, but there was some wild energy there. I’ll never forget Tony Fafoglia’s review of their record: Take four bored teenagers. Lock them in a room with the first Clash album. Call them the Red Rockers.

Apr. 21 Boppin’ 88’s. Suddenly, there were rockabilly bands everywhere. I don’t remember this one at all.

Apr. 23 Hell Cats. Another rockabilly band, another distant memory.

Apr. 24 Arsenal Street / Wax Theatricks. Okay, who the heck was Arsenal Street? Maybe Dominic Schaeffer remembers?

Apr. 28 David & the Happenings / Jason & the Nashville Scorchers. This was at 4th & Pine, and boy did I hate Jason and company that first night. They were sloppy and raucous and not my thing at all. Then.

Apr. 30 Foolish Virgins. These guys played at Dr. Munchee’s a lot, too.

Apr. 30 Couch Dancers. Mysterious. A separate venue on the same night for a band I can’t remember at all.

May 5 Jonathan Richman / the Morells. You bet I was excited to finally see Jonathan Richman in person. I was disappointed he played solo, but I got used to that quickly, and left with a giant smile on my face.

May 8 Foolish Virgins.

May 14 Bad Beats / Foolish Virgins. The name Bad Beats doesn’t ring any bells, does it? . It’s entirely probable that this was at Dr. Munchees, and was the night I first met one Cathy Alsobrook, who would go on to have great influence in my life. But at this point, she was on a date with Tony Renner.

May 15 Riot Act I remember seeing these guys in an afternoon show at the 14th Street Mall – this may have been that.

May 15 Bad Beats / Foolish Virgins

May 17 Graham Parker. At Stages, an exhilarating performance by a band featuring Carlos Alomar and Brinsley Schwarz sharing lead guitar duties.

May 22 Dear John / Popular Science / the Action

June 2 Dave Edmunds / Island. A sweaty, exciting performance down at Mississippi Nights. I actually got his autograph, trying to get him to sign a West End Wax ad so they’d be happy with us in Jet Lag.

June 5 The Felons

June 11 The Morells. One night only? Was this at 4th & Pine? 

June 12 The Philosophic Collage. I seem to recall seeing them play in Timothy Tyme’s apartment with his wife, Carrie Lindsay. But that would have been loud, wouldn’t it?

June 18 The Action / Popular Science

June 25 Mike Burgett Band. Mysterious. This was at the end of the Foolish Virgins, and just before the Aviation Club, and probably not formally either yet. Might have been the time they played at a public pool and all my friends and I frolicked in the water while the rock played.

July 3 Chuck Berry. This was the first time I saw the legend. It was down on the Riverfront for the VP Fair, and there weren’t but a few hundred people paying attention, so we got up close. I was very impressed just to bask in his presence.

July 3 Mamas & the Papas. An exhilarating masterful performance elsewhere at the same Fair. John Phillips and Denny Doherty were there, with MacKenzie Phillips and Spanky McFarlane of Spanky and Our Gang subbing for Michelle Phillips and the late Mama Cass. What an incredible band, what incredible singing, what incredible songs!

July 7 Squeeze / A Flock of Seagulls / the Producers. This was at Kiel Opera House. Squeeze was all over the radio with “Black Coffee in Bed,” and at the time, I was in love with the first Flock of Seagulls album. (I still like it, but really, for a while there, it was one of my very fave records). The Producers were silly and pompous.

July 10 David Johansen. This is a total surprise. I really don’t remember seeing him. It must have been at Mississippi Nights, and boy, did I love the album with “Funky but Chic” from the day I first heard that song on KWUR. I’m not sure if I’d even heard the New York Dolls yet, but I remember buying their two out of print albums at Wuxtry, so I probably had.

July 17 The Felons. Boy, I saw those guys a lot.

July 23 Pylon / Rude Pets / Avon Ladies. At the Lindell Club, a hole in a basement on Lindell, and one I wish I could go back to with fresh ears. Cause I liked Pylon then, but I suspect I’d be more impressed now.

July 27 X / the Felons. I can’t tell you how major a band X was in my social circle in those days. I don’t think I’d owned a record by them yet, but I had to go. From that point on, I wanted to be Billy Zoom for a long, long time.

Aug. 4 Dead Kennedys / Rude Pets / Avon Ladies. What hold did Rude Pets and the Avon Ladies have on Mississippi Nights to both get billed opening for such wildly different acts two weeks apart? Anyway, this was the only time I ever slam danced. What fun! You could grab anybody you wanted and throw them across the room and they’d thank you for it. This was a way better hardcore band than Red Rockers had been.

Aug. 5 Elvis Costello / Sussman Lawrence. And then the next night was the Imperial Bedroom tour. Everything I didn’t get from the first time I saw Costello in 79, I got in spades this night. Much longer than a two hour show, with the Attractions on fire, and Costello showing me for the first time that he was an essential live performer who re-interpreted all his material at every show. I’m pretty sure this was the night he sang “End of the Rainbow” by Richard Thompson, a name I’d only just begun to learn about from Tony Renner, Tony Fafoglia, and Al Ricketts.

Aug. 6 Remainderz. Yep, bands spelled like that back then.

Aug. 14 Aviation Club / the Action. Burgett had formally a whole new band, featuring the astounding Jon Ferber on lead guitar, Mike Ritter on bass, and Mark Evans on drums. And there was much, much dancing to be done.

Aug. 21 Studebakers / Aviation Club

Aug. 26 The English Beat / Ferrari. I think this was at Graham Chapel, though having Ferrari open seems odd. Still, what a joyful sound.

Aug. 28 Avon Ladies / Aviation Club

Aug. 30 Black Uhuru / the Felons. You really have no idea how incredible Black Uhuru was, especially with Sly and Robbie live right there on stage at Stages. I remember everybody on stage left one by one until only Sly & Robbie remained. I can’t remember which one of them was last to play on by himself and then stop and walk off to thunderous, rapturous applause.

Sept. 8 Burning Spear / the Majestics. And then I first saw Winston Rodney only a little more than a week later. What a great time!

Sept. 9 Black Flag / Nig-Heist / Rude Pets.  This was at a small hall named Mr. A's in Illinois somewhere, maybe near Belleville? At any rate, this was the Rollins/Cadena/Dukowski/Ginn/Biscuits line-up, and it was formidable indeed. During the Nig-Heist set, which included members of the Flag, Dukowski almost beaned a guy over the head when Mugger, the nincompoop vocalist who had shown me and my friends his small penis backstage, convinced the guy to come on stage and make out with him or something.

Sept. 10 B-Lovers. Steve Scariano, Jeff Evans, and Nick Rudd played 4th and Pine – historically, the first time I ever saw anybody do cocaine backstage. These guys were awfully good – I wish I’d seen them more.

Sept. 23 Morells. I’m reasonably sure by this time the Morells had shifted to Heartbreak Hotel. In fact, it’s probable that by this time, Billie Goat Hill had bitten the dust, which was a shame. I had a lot of great times there.

Sept. 30 Shoes / the Raybeats. Do you have any idea how cool the Raybeats were? An instrumental band from New York led by guitarist Jody Harris, they had chops out the wazoo. And Shoes, of course, were power pop princes.

Oct. 2 Aviation Club / Disturbers. Boy, there were a lot of bands I saw once or twice and don’t remember at all. Disturbers, anyone?

Oct. 10 Rude Pets

Oct. 16 Rude Pets / Aviation Club. Then there’s Rude Pets, who I obviously saw all the time, but don’t remember their music much at all. I liked them, liked the people, but just can’t remember the music.

Oct. 26 The Specimens. Here’s a band from Minneapolis, I think, that I loved. Featuring one electric pianist named PJ something or other, they just always entertained the heck out of me. Oh, to hear “Lance Romance” one more time. These guys kept coming back to Dr. Munchees.

Oct. 28 Fleetwood Mac / Glenn Frey. Back then, the World Series was over by the middle of October, so when Glenn Frey, who wasn’t going over at all, resorted to “Hey, St. Louis, city of champions,” the fervor of the city’s World Series win guaranteed him a great ovation. And was I ever thrilled to see Fleetwood Mac – the song “Hold Me” from their album that year has always been one of my very favorite records, and I consider them to be perfect pop. See how far I’d come from my New Wave births?

Nov. 1 Noise to Go / The Elvis Brothers. “Hi, we’re the Elvis Brothers, and we have a lot of money.” I think they worked that into every song introduction, and some song lyrics, too, at Mississippi Nights. I remember the name Noise to Go, but the music and the faces escape me.

Nov. 5. V.I.P. No clue. I just remembered - these guys were a band from Webster University, and I remember they were trying to teach their drummer to play a reggae beat, but he'd never heard it before.

Nov. 8 Bad Brains / Riot Act. At Mississippi Nights. Bad Brains opened with three crunching, exhilarating hardcore songs that had me floating on air and halfway into space, but then it was all reggae, often with HR off the stage. It was cool they could play both, but hardcore was their strength. Without it, they were a mediocre reggae band. Little did I know how difficult HR could be.

Nov. 13 Meats of Distinction / Sub-Dudes. This was at a talent show at Clayton High School. I had started to meet all these kids into the hardcore scene, and many of them went to Clayton. The Meats of Distinction featured Dareen Ledeen and Bobby Christopher; the Sub-Dudes had Mike Apirion, Andy Hawkins, Gabe Katz. All these guys would play in front of me many more times, but this was the first time I saw them. Hardcore punk at a high school talent show, by the way, was quite a change from the baton twirlers and comedians also on the bill.

Nov. 16 The Specimens/ Cheaters. Since John Green booked Dr. Munchees (did I mention that location is now Magnolia’s, the biggest gay bar in town?), no wonder there were always bands I don’t remember. Cheaters?

Nov. 20 Infra-Red Funk. Yep, they were a local reggae band – I remember now. They played a lot for a few years there.

Dec. 3 Bad Beets / Aviation Club. Bad Beets? No memory.

Dec. 6 The Who / the Rockets. This time, Alex Weir won tickets by answering a trivia question on KSHE, and he took me with him. The free tix were again near the very top of the Checkerdome, but we managed to move down and find empty seats near where my future boss, Dick Richmond, was reviewing the show for the Post. The Rockets were the remnants of Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels, and they did a mean version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” This was the last time I saw the Who live, and thus it was memorable, if not perfect.

Dec. 31 Meats of Distinction. Punk rock on New Year’s Eve? Where was this. It almost had to be a party. These guys were so young then.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Re Black Flag Belleville show: future members of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco in attendance. No Beatle Bob sightings.

  3. Re Black Flag Belleville show: future members of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco in attendance. No Beatle Bob sightings.

  4. Re Black Flag Belleville show. Future members of Uncle Tupelow/Son Volt/Wilco in attendance.